A Money-Saving Guide from The Bridal Pantry
When it comes to planning a wedding…
Take Your Time!
- Instead of planning for a one-year engagement, consider pushing it out a bit. Doing so will give you more time to enjoy your engagement, a longer opportunity to save money, and more time to plan everything out (and to remember those tiny details!)
- Book your venue and vendors early so the price you agreed on is locked in. This will avoid price increases in the meantime.
- Making periodic payments will help you stay on budget and help to lift the financial burden weddings can often create.
- DIY projects are creative, personal, and can (sometimes) save money. However, buying all of the supplies can end up costing you more money than anticipated and they can often be very time consuming!
Choosing the Right Venue for You
- Searching for venues can be both fun and frustrating. Make sure to budget your wedding-spending money early on and stick to venues within your price point!
- Have both the ceremony and reception at the same venue. It may seem enticing to have your reception at a later date, however, paying for two venues will cost you more money overall.
- Pick a wedding date during the off-season (during the winter, late fall, or early spring) as venue prices are usually more expensive in the mid to late spring and summer months.
- Consider a date that falls on a Thursday or Sunday. Venue prices often decrease dramatically during the week!
Don’t Sweat the Guest List
- Do not feel like you have to invite everyone you know to your wedding. Limit your guest list to close friends and family and try to exclude acquaintances, friends of friends, etc.
- If at all possible, try to limit the number of children or kindly tell your guests you want adults only. Venues often count kids as a full person charge (there are no discounts for minors or small children).
Do Not Forget to Hire a Wedding Planner!
- An effective wedding planner can save you time, money, and stress. Planners have plenty of experience working with reputable vendors and can point you in the right direction (and can usually get you a discount!)
- Choose a day-of or partial coordination package. These types of packages allow you to do a lot of the work yourself and cost much less than full coordination packages. Keep in mind, a day-of planner is VITAL to ensure your wedding as stress-free as possible and also allows you more time to spend with your friends and family on your special day!
- As with all other types of vendors, do your research on your photographer. Photography package prices vary widely, so make sure you stay within budget! Also, photographers are one of the most important aspects of your wedding team; the last thing you want is to spend hundreds of dollars for blurry pictures!
- If you need help choosing a great photographer at a reasonable price, ask your wedding planner for recommendations!
- Consider serving a buffet-style meal, as opposed to individual plates.
- Expensive seafood and filet minion steaks sound great, but your guests will not mind something just as yummy but less expensive.
- Offering appetizers for your guests as you and your bridal party take pictures directly after the ceremony will fill-up guests’ tummies quicker (and will also keep them happy!). You may even consider serving hardy appetizers instead of a full-scale meal.
- Choosing your own caterer, as opposed to picking from the list provided by the venue (or if you are one of those lucky brides whose aunt is an amazing chef and you choose to serve your own food) can definitely save money. Keep in mind though that making your own food is a TON of extra work and many venues require a licensed caterer!
Cake, cake, cake!
- Consider ordering a smaller wedding cake or even a fake cake to use for the “cut the cake” ceremony. You can provide less expensive sheet cakes for the guests!
- Try to use real flowers for cake decorations as bakers charge extra for fondant flowers.
- Consider putting together a “dessert table”, filled with cookie, pies, and other sweet little treats that you can buy in bulk. This is such a unique, creative idea and your guests will appreciate the wide variety of options.
- Consider going with a DJ instead off a band (unless you know the band personally and are receiving a great discount). A great DJ can add so much personality and fun to your party, so make sure to do your research and choose wisely! Again, your wedding planner will have some great recommendations.
- Ask the DJ if he/she can also play the ceremony music and supply microphones; this will save on PA system costs.
- Adding a photo-booth to your reception is a great idea! It keeps guests occupied (especially the kiddos) and will provide you with tons of unforgettable memories you can cherish forever!
- Creating your own invitations will save a TON of money! There are many inexpensive invitation templates available online.
- Keep your eye out for sales, close outs, and promo codes to save on design and printing costs.
- Consider sending evites for save the dates and RSVPs. This will save you time and money on printing and postage!
Flowers & Décor
- Go for less expensive types of flowers (daisies, hydrangeas, etc.). Silk and real-touch flowers (if done well) can look just as good as the real thing, for half the price!
- Adding more greenery in place of more flowers in bouquets and centerpieces is a great money saver.
- Consider renting décor and props the reception, such as whiskey barrels, chandeliers, lanterns, etc. This saves time and money and avoids the hassle of storing or selling the items after the wedding.
- Consider having the bridesmaids carry a single flower or just a couple instead of an entire bouquet. Also, keeping your bridal party small saves money and stress!
- Use more non-floral decor (such as antique books, bottles, mason jars, etc.).
Beer, Wine, & Spirits
- Consider serving wine, beer, and on signature cocktail at the reception instead of full bar. HUGE money saver and will also prevent your guests from getting too intoxicated.
- Skip the champagne toast! Most guests will already have a drink in their hands and “cheers” with those.
- Find out whether or not your venue that allows you (as the bride and groom) to buy and bring in your own alcohol to serve guests…definitely a big money saver! However, make sure to hire a certified, insured, and experienced bartender to avoid liability issues.